The well-known ‘Having a Say’ conference hosted by VALiD was held in Geelong on the 20th and 21st of February.
‘Having A Say’ is the largest conference for people with disability in Australia. The conference aims to empower people with a disability to ‘have a say’ about the issues that affect their lives and to celebrate ability and achievement.
It provides a space for people with disability to use their voice, to speak up, to be heard and be respected.
Review panel member Kirsten Deane went along for the two days to listen to people share their experiences of the NDIS – what works well and what doesn’t – and what should be done to improve it.
The Review had a stall in the exhibition section of the conference hall. People came along and spoke to Kirsten about their experiences and their ideas about how to improve the NDIS.
Kirsten was also special guest at a one hour workshop hosted by Inclusion Australia. Inclusion Australia is the peak body for people with an intellectual disability and their families in Australia.
Kirsten heard about people’s positive experiences with the NDIS. People told Kirsten that it was great to finally have enough funding to do the things that wanted to do. They were also happy to be able to choose their own providers and support workers, and to be able to change them if things were not working.
But Kirsten also heard about how hard people find the NDIS. How complicated and time consuming people find trying to work their way through the scheme. She also heard how stressful plan reviews are and how frustrated and angry people feel when they are not listened to or treated well by Local Area Coordinators or planners.
Kirsten also heard some great ideas about how to fix these problems. There was lots of discussion about:
- how long NDIS plans should be,
- what services would help people to join the NDIS; and
- what services could help explain how to spend funding.
All the information collected by Kirsten and the Review secretariat will be fed back into the Review. Kirsten also promised to come back and talk more to everyone very soon.
But just remember you don’t need to wait until there is another conference – you can have your say about the NDIS Review anytime. Just visit our website where you can have your say by uploading a written document, or recording a video, or even talking to someone on the phone. You can also have your say by answering some simple questions.